ALBANY - New Yorkers and visitors can try their hand at ice fishing for free next weekend.
Feb. 18 and 19 are free fishing days in New York, meaning you can fish in the state’s lakes, ponds, rivers and streams without a fishing license.
Since 1991, the state has hosted a handful of free fishing days to try to encourage people to try the sport without the cost of a permit.
"These free days are a prime opportunity for anglers of all experience levels, whether they are New Yorkers or visitors, to get out and experience for themselves the great fishing on the lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in every corner of this state," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The free fishing weekend is open to those age 16 or older in any of the state's public fresh and marine water.
There will be four other free fishing days in 2017 aside from next weekend: June 24 and 25, Sept. 23 and Nov. 11.
Although participants will not be required to hold a state fishing license, all other statewide fishing regulations will remain in effect.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation warned against venturing on to ice that is less than four inches thick.
Those looking to ice fish should test the ice with an auger or ice spud before venturing out, according to the DEC.
For a list of public fishing areas, visit the DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7749.html.